One of the risks of promoting people into team leader and management roles without appropriate education, training and support is that they will do their own research and take the headlines from article and approaches and they risk miss-applying the approach or method.
Name and shame is one such approach.
Often used in projects and close knit team environments, “name and shame” is best used in association with “fame awards” as a part of long term engagement and team building. The concept is that each month members of the team are asked to nominate colleagues for either the “fame” award for going above and beyond their role, or the “shame” award for an embarrassing act. The approach is intended to build team spirit, not to “reward” or penalise people.
In one project I have been involved in “shame” awards went to people that…lost their new laptop the day after getting it, missed flights due to poor time keeping. “Fame” awards for collaboration beyond their responsibility, working to encourage additional collaboration etc.
Most of these activities are around the social elements of the team, helping the team to be more successful.
“Name and Shame”
Using a “public” shaming of people that either do not follow company processes or procedures is a new trend I have seen in some businesses. Rather than managing people one-on-one, it seems that public humiliation (a stick approach) is a worrying trend. The thought appears to be using poor performance as an example to others is stronger than influencing change.
The reality is of course that public humiliation has a twofold effect:
- It puts the individual under stress and on guard not to be open and “try new things”
- It sends a warning to others that the manager knows how to threaten and it builds distrust and reduces engagement.
A modern business needs more carrot than stick
Current working environments often needs people to be flexible with the tasks they do, along with the hours they are prepared to contribute.
In days gone past, where tight job descriptions stated all activities, and in general many businesses were over staffed, a stick approach could have been seen to work. But at a time when we have lean businesses, employing fewer people than ever, we need not compliance from our people but engagement and a desire to “help the customer” regardless of their job description.
Change the people.. Or change the people
Naming and shaming is an easy, and “chicken” or cowards approach to managing people. Unfortunately if you hire people to be managers, you need to ensure they are going to deliver an efficient and welcoming service for your customers. If not, you need to “train them” so that they change. Unfortunately by this time it is often too late. So if coaching and training does not change your people… you need to “change your people2 and engage potential managers or leaders that are more people aware and strive to engage and work collaboratively.
The acid test of a good team leader
Whilst sometimes our people do tasks that team leaders cannot do, an effective team leader must be willing to “step into” their teams shoes. Can they operate in the environment (not necessarily do the task) in which they are asking their people to function?
One example of this is a Practice Manager in a doctor’s surgery. She uses a stick approach, but cannot and will not work on the front desk with her team. The slightest raised voice from an angry patient (because the surgery have cancelled their appointment for the 3rd time), and the practice manager threatens to call the police, rather than help to pacify the patient!
How can your front line staff respect their manager, if the manager cannot accept the working environment they are asking people to work in?
Of course this is not just true in this situation, the same is true for call centres, retail and many other environments.
This is a worrying new leadership trend that is not effective but driven by inexperience of first time leaders
What do you think of this new trend in leadership?